Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Night Pow Wow: A Vlog

Second blog in less than a week - hope you're not sick of this face yet. : ]


I've been in a pretty constant state of frustration this week. I'm writing this early before I head 20 miles out of my way to be at Sams Club at 7:00am for the second time this week. I'm frustrated at having wasted all of yesterday morning there to no avail. They've deleted my paperwork and they say they aren't responsible if I can't prove things, etc...

Anywho, frustration has been reigning somewhat surpreme in my mind the last 72 hours or so. Made worse by how tired I am with the added chaos of having to be upa t 5am two days in a row that I will also be gone until at least 10pm. Whew.

So I went to my favorite place when I'm feeling overwelmed with frustration - James.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

It's supposed to be that simple, right? Counting my trials joyfully as the Lord developing me, right? This is not easy for me. A couple hours of frustration and you can find me in a funk. So, I'm turning to scripture as I start what may be another frustrating morning and believing the Lord's got a plan with this - he's trying to teach me something, I've just been too frustrated to listen.

So I'm laying it down, I'm going to count it joy - and I'm going to move forward. I'm also going to find some time this weekend to relax and recover! Everything is easier when you're not exhausted, right?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Never Let Em See You Sweat...

Well, I promised this week was going to be BUSY and you know when I use that word - it's serious! I'm trying to squeeze in some car solutions - aka new tires, lights are on and off, ack. But let's keep this positive, here's some of the FUN I'm up to this week...

On lunch today I will be hitting up the end-of-summer-sale @ Nordstrom Rack. I'm in their inner circle' so they let me in early on the sale scoop. The sale starts today and of course, I want to be one of the first to browse the racks so I have to go on lunch, naturally. But also because tonight....

I'm headed to see Kelly Minter - author of the bible study my group just finished going through on the book of Ruth. She's a Christian music artist out of Nashville, TN and author of two of my favorite bible studies thus far - No Other Gods & Ruth: Love, Loss, and Legacy. She'll be leading us in worship tonight as well as speaking so I'm excited for both as my small group heads up to Tarpon Springs for her event tonight at Generations Church.

Tomorrow night I'm headed to the preview of The Mighty Macs in Citrus Park with my friend Daniel who graciously took off work to come along. I got an e-mail a while back sent out to several of Tampa's 'leaders' inviting them to a preview it before it premiers in October and I of course accepted. Who doesn't want to preview movies, right? I love spending time with Daniel - we just hit up both the Pinkberry AND the new Yogurtology openings in Citrus Park in the last month. We share a love of the Lord, fro yo, and all things Apple.

Thursday night I'm headed to Dinner Done, with my sweet friend Christy to prep some meals. This will be my third trip to DD (some of you may have read about it previously) and I'm super excited about my meal choices for this trip which are:

- Beef with rosemary gorgonzola butter and red wine sauce

- Bacon, cheddar, and spinach stuffed pork loin

- Cajun shrimp

- Parm crusted tilapia

Yum. Turns out this was a timely choice - as my last announcement (I think) for this busy week is that my good friend from my Carmel, Indiana days, Ashley, is coming to Tampa this weekend.
We will be enjoying this long weekend with a beach trip, a pool day, dessert @ the Bern's dessert room, a night out with some of my girls, etc.

I was going to put a picture of us on here but I can't find one taken recently enough that I even want to share it. Yikes. We'll have to work on that this weekend and I will show you her beautiful face after the weekend. Deal?

When I think about Ash and I's friendship one summer stands out above the rest. It was the summer before our senior year of college (mine at Purdue, hers at Indiana - yes, rivals). We must have been insane because we worked a part time job, a fulltime internship, AND waitressed nights all in one summer. We would literally start out day at 6am driving almost an hour to the Boys and Girls Club we interned at - be there til 5...commute back to waitress at TGIFridays til 1am - hangout after, and repeat. Then on the weekends we worked days at Coach and nights at Fridays. It was a BRUTAL, sleepless schedule but I'm not sure I've ever had to much fun.

So yeah, that's my week - what are you up to?



Monday, August 29, 2011

My Style Monday, New Haircut, & Weekend Recap.

My Style Monday

Today's My Style Monday is from church this weekend. Now that it's football season I will be sporting blue on a weekly basis (though not always so dressy). I'm 2 weeks away from a new phone so bare with my crappy blackberry pics for 2 more weeks, please.

First off, thank you for your sweet responses to my post about friendship. I'm so blessed by the encouragement I find here on the blog, in all aspects of my life. I continue to be surprised by the number of people who read and respond to what I say. Blogging truly has become one of my favorite things.

We had an incredible service to continue our Freedom series at church this weekend, all about pride. It's funny the quirks in my life that I don't attribute to pride, but when you boil it down, probably do stem from my desire to appear without flaw, does that make sense? If you want to hear the sermon feel free to check it out on my church's website - - they PODcast with all for free (fabulous, I know).

I've been studying the book of Samuel in my quiet times in the morning. When I say studying I really mean it - underlining, highlighting, taking notes, read multiple times, looking up things I don't totally understand. I'm so fascinated by what I'm learning that I've been waking up at 6:30 every morning excited for what the next two chapters will hold. It's a great feeling.

I had a busy, productive weekend per my usual but I honestly had more fun than I have in a while. I got some great time with some of my favorite people in Tampa - including a night out with Auburn and Kayla, the grand opening of the new yogurtology with Daniel, Kayla, and some delightful new people, spades with friends, Beefs to watch football, etc.

Whew. This week is going to be intense so I may be scarce a bit. But lots of exciting evening plans so I'll keep you posted eventually, as time allows. I've got a great friend coming in town Friday for the long weekend - so I'm workin for the weekend!

Ok, on to Monday.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Football Parties Ideas.

For me, everything's an event. My sister and I discussed over her visit our love for planning. We love to making packing lists, work on to do lists and prep work for days, run around our houses like crazy people the morning before we host dinner for friends - the chaos of planning an event is half the fun, for us. I realize this is not the way for many people who would rather order a pizza and relax in the company of their friends with no cooking and no dishes to do after.

Now, don't get me wrong - I can appreciate a low key hangout as much as the next girl. I love dinners out for birthdays or nights of grabbing fro yo and plopping in front of a Lifetime movie with friends. I don't need a big event to have a good time but I do love to plan! In the last year, thanks in large part to my Tampa bestie Auburn, I've grown to love cooking (even simple meals).

This was a long way to get to announcing that my roommate, Bekah, and I have put our football party of the year on the calender! We decided to host it on Sunday Night Football (so we'd be sure to actually get the Colts game here in Tampa) and it will be a rematch of the Colt's last super bowl appearance - we're playing the Saints, again. Hopefully this time ends better than the last (darn you, Drew Brees - my fellow Purdue Alum).

So now of course my head is swimming with all the cool football party ideas (and I'm welcoming any you may have as well). To get into the football spirit now that it's preseason I thought I'd post a few party ideas I've been collecting. First off, I LOVE all things football when it comes to entertaining and last year I literally broke the budget for anything football related dining item I could find (for a reasonable price, of course).

But what about the actual food, the decor, the party itself. Well I turned to the blogs to gather a few ideas I hope I get the chance to try...

Guacamole Football Field.

Find out how to make your own here.

Want something else to dip those chips in? How about this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip? Weirdly enough I don't like buffalo wings but I like pretty much anything else buffalo from soup to dip to sandwiches. What I really need is this tray to display it on...

I'm obsessed. Seriously, someone please get me this for my birthday (which is 3 weeks away, mind you) - it's from Target. ; ]

Ever played that stupid 'guess how many coffee beans are in the bowl' game? Well, I hate that. But I do like guessing the scores/outcomes of games and I wouldn't mind winning a bowl of M & Ms.

Who else is gathering ideas and planning some football fun?! I need MORE!


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Right Kind of Friend.

First off, did you notice this blog got a facelift? I said when I changed the name of the blog (formerly: So Scared of Getting Older, I'm Only Good at Being Young) that I was going to making other changes so - TA DA! I'm not sure yet if I'll miss the big red couch that reminded me of the one in my living room but for now...

A new challenge I've been feeling my friendships lately is to adapt to the changes in my close friends lives. The last couple years have really changed each of our lives in different ways - as some of my friends have moved back home with their parents, some have moved to new cities (like myself). A few of my friends have gotten married, while some of us are putting most of our energy into our careers, for now. A couple of my friends have recently had babies, which is really rockin my world because I still feel so young (falsely, perhaps).

I've probably beat a dead horse over talking how crazy your 20s are. But lately I'm really focused on how to tackle that by being the right kind of friend. I wanted to be the friend who rises to the occasion and finds a way to be part of each of my closest friends lives, no matter how differently they look from my own. Does that make sense?

You all walked through with me my realization that I wasn't holding up my end of my best friendship over a year ago. I realized that as Candy made her way to Florida several times a year, met me in Indy with my family, and remembered every detail of my weeks from doctors appointments to dates to talks with family members - I wasn't keeping pace. After her wedding last October I thought - why have I never met her family until now? Why have I never been to her town? Why didn't I know all these great people who are part of her life?

You were also with me here on the blog when I set out to change that. I spent a couple days over Christmas being part of her life in Scottsburg, IN and I returned again over July 4th weekend to celebrate with her families (my Dad may still be holding a grudge about this). I've tried to be more involved by actually being there, and by knowning the big and the small stuff. It's hard for me sometimes to be so far away - when I'd rather be doing every day life with her. But I have to say I've made some big strides and I see it really growing our friendship (clearly meaning I was the one holding it back before).

I may have stepped up to the plate this year where my friendship with Candy is concerned but am I the right kind of friend in other close relationships? Maybe in a few. I was praying for my friends by name the other night and I thought hmm, what does it look like to be a good friend in this phase of my life? The only answer I've found is that it looks really different for each of my friends. I want to be part of their lives. I want to encourage them in the areas they need it most. That looks really different on a case-by-case basis.

I had a newlywed friend over this week. I wanted to hear about her honeymoon and her post wedding thoughts (I was at the wedding, here locally). Before the wedding she'd come to a class at my gym with me and I remember her asking if after the wedding I'd help her get in a routine of cooking simple meals (like I've been trying to do for myself). She (again, like me) isn't a big cooker but wants to save the money and eat healthier by learning to put together easy, inexpensive, healthy meals. Ah, ha!

I invited her over Monday night and I cooked us dinner, which we ate together and gabbed about the wedding, her new apartment with her hubby and son, life after marriage, etc. I had e-mailed her the easy recipe I thought we should start out with so that she could gather the supplies before she came over (which she did) and I helped her put the casserole together and cook it she could feed it to her family later that week.

It was an easy way to not just spend time with her and catch up on her life but be a helpful friend. She's entered a whole new phase of life - having already been a mother (which I know little to nothing about) and now having a husband and a home to keep up with as well. I wanted to spend the time we hanging out, also helping her get ahead for the week. And we both had so much fun in the process, we've decided to make it a regular occurrence. I was so encouraged by the experience that it immediately got me could I be more purposeful in other relationships as well?

I haven't brainstormed this through totally (but I'm open to all ideas). I was also trying to help a friend who wanted to work on her finances. Like myself, she wants to be out of debt! Lucky for her, that's easier to accomplish when your debt isn't a home (I won't have that paid off this year, I can tell you that much). Anywho, I've found a couple great babysitting clients I've been rotating through regularly to boost my pay off and savings and I thought - maybe I could help her get going. I helped her through joining the website I use, making a profile, gave her a few tips on how much to charge, etc. and even helped her get her first job, with one of my current clients.

Now, I don't share this with you to brag that I'm the ultimate friend - trust me. I have such a disturbingly long way to come as a friend, really. But I've figured out that in my busy, crazy, hectic life I can't lose sight even for a second of what a solid friendship is supposed to look like. For me, as a believer, I really feel like that includes praying for them, helping them, challenging them, encouraging them, and of course spending quality time with them. Time is precious to me and I'm so scheduled that I really have to make a constant, conscious effort. But nothing frustrates me more than flighty friends so I don't want to BE that kind of friend. I also have identified one of the areas in my life that I'm not giving enough attention to is serving. Being willing to serve my friends. That's another catagory that looks different depending on the friend but it requires thought, effort, and again, being purposeful.

I'll take any and all prayers from you all that you're willing to offer me in this department. I feel really blessed to have such great friendships, after years of not having them I don't want to spend a single moment being unappreciative or taking them for granted. I'm learning a lot but the more I learn the more I realize I have left to learn.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Take Me Classy Places: A Vlog.

This vlog will speak for itself (yes, I came straight home and recorded this, in my pjs)...

It's Ok...

Its Ok Thursdays

And again I say, it's ok... write verbal letters to people you want to say overly honest things too. (Example: Dear woman letting her kid throw things on the ground at Target and smack you in the face, you are what's wrong with parenting today. Love, Becca) only wear blue on Sunday's during football season (even to church) because it's 'goodluck' for the Colts. fatten up all your friends with yummy baked goods because baking is theraputic but you're on a diet. (this works better with guy friends than girl friends, I've found) LIVE in the honesty box, not just visit. be picky about your coffee, even though you're going to dowse it in fat free, dairy free creamer. shamelessly recruit pen pals on your blog because you just LOVE snail mail. get behind on laundry. have your 'go to' lunch when you forget yours at home be a bean burrito from Taco Bell because they're 300 calories and $1.06 - yum. obsess over your budget in an attempt to convince yourself you don't hate budgeting (when really you want to buy a million sweaters and boots for the fall you won't have in Florida). wish you could run half as far and/or as fast as your 6 month pregnant sister - but make no effort towards such a goal. call your best friend (or your mom) and start the convo 'I need 2 minutes to whine, then I'll return us to our regularly scheduled talk' and vent like a crazy for 120 seconds. be so strong through hard stuff and then cry over something stupid (like your microwave breaking or a bad haircut). be suspicious of all strangers because you've seen too many lifetime movies. (craiglist killer anyone?!)

And one last one thanks to Jess's comment on my post earlier this week - get a funk every now and then (as long as you beat it, eventually, I might add).



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

26 at 26.

So, I'm stealing an idea that several people in blog world have done before me and I've admired. I want to make a list of 26 things to do while I'm 26. Unfortunately, I'm really struggling to come up with them. I'm usually so good at goals - especially ones that are supposed to be fun. But since lately I'm apparently not, I need your help.

I'm taking all suggestions via e-mail or comment as to what should make the list. Help me! I promise to at least consider each and every one but that doesn't mean I'll do them (I know some of you too well to think that's a good idea).

Here's two examples of what I've come up with so far:

1. Visit a new state (my goal is to visit all 50 states, eventually)
2. Reach my goal weight - finally.

Yeah, that's pretty much as far as I've gotten. Help!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Coming Home...

A special thank you for all the lovely ladies who commented on yesterdays posts. I've tried to write back to most of you - but I appreciate your thoughts and for those of you who offered them, your prayers. I can never have too many of those, of course.

I'm happy to report I booked a flight home yesterday. My work is doing out Indianapolis Colts event September 17th and I'm going to fly in a couple hours early and try'n squeeze in a few extra minutes with my precious family before and after the event. I'm going to catch my team playing (of all teams) the Cleveland Browns and I'm hoping to weasel a little post birthday spoiling out of my parents (like dinner at my favorite restaurant).

I will turn the big 2-6 on the 12th and head home the 15th so I think I can talk em into a dinner out at Stonecreek Grill (if you live near Indianapolis you HAVE to go - I'm obsessed). But most of all I'm looking forward to errands and coffee dates with my mom, precious hard to come by time with my sweet Daddy, maaaybe sleeping in my bed for a night before I get kicked out for game weekend company (trust me, that feels more like home than actually getting to sleep in my own bed). And my first taste of fall weather!

It's still in the 90s daily here in Tampa so it'll be nice to catch a little chilly weather while I'm home. I'm looking forward to sporting this....


I snagged this orangey-red Kenneth Cole trench on the sale rack of Nordstrom Rack for...are you ready for this?...$22. Marked down of course from $158. Ta da. So stoked. It's a great color - with black, brown, grey, even khaki (which I rarely wear). So I think it's going to debut on my trip home, perhaps with some boots?

I'm ready to welcome the month of September with a visit from my high school friend, Ashley, for Labor Day weekend, my birthday!, a trip to Indy to be with family and to work, and a trip to Minnesota (also for work). September is going to be a great month and I'm not trying to breeze right on through the last week of August but...I am pretty stoked to get started with the next month.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Hear my Heart.

If you're a new reader, and even if you're not, I hope you'll journey back with me to last December and read this post about encouragers. After you've had the chance to go back and hear my thoughts last December I wanted to share with you where I'm at with this today.

Let me start by saying I hope you can really hear my heart in this entry. I have felt rather discouraged lately. Disappointed in myself for a variety of reasons. Frustrated with a few current aspects of my life. Let down by people I love. This came to a bit of a head this weekend after cancelling my 'girls weekend' trip I was so excited about because I had a rather large, unexpected expense. This put me having the whole weekend open, last minute.

I sat down on Thursday night and really thought about my weekend. About this funk I've been in lately and of just how I was planning on kicking my butt back into gear. Unfortunately, it was kind of a wimpy failure SO...Friday night I was plopped in front of the TV, watching a movie and doing a bit of wallowing when I had one of those 'come to Jesus' moments with myself where I said, I'm not doing this. I'm not going to mop around this house another minute. I showered, got dressed, and headed to celebrate a friend's birthday. I ended up having a great time, staying out past my bedtime, and thinking 'why did I ever want to mop on my couch to begin with?'.

Saturday morning I woke up with the urge to purge and by 2:00 I had cleaned up the garage, cleaned out my closet, dropped donations at Goodwill, sold a dish set on Craiglist (and met the woman at Target to exchange), and stopped by the consignment shop I use here in Tampa. Whew. Time to get out some old - simplify, streamline, and focus in on 'needs' v. 'wants' on a few new levels.

I had lunch with Aubs and we talked about some of the same things. We both agree frustration is a perfect way to word our current state - on several levels. I'm so blessed by having her as my sounding board. But what I told her over fro yo is this - 'I think I have to take more ownership. This is the life I've made for myself. The good and the bad. I made it, I can change it. Maybe not as fast as I want - but I can. I think I need to really start seeing it that way'.

I agreed to babysit both Saturday and Sunday nights to help pay for said 'expense' that kept me home this weekend. I spent the night watching movies, reading books,and writing a few encouraging cards to friends while the kiddos slept. Then I pulled out my notebook and I started writing. What am I grateful for? What's going right? What are 3 things I'm doing well - right now? What can I improve on? What can be cut out? What do I want out of the rest of 2011?

I was suddenly feeling inspired, motivated, and most of all...encouraged. I not only have so much to be thankful for and so many opportunities to improve the areas I feel frustrated with - but I'm ahead of where I thought I would be at 25! As for the people I'm feeling a little put off with I tried something I'm sure I've never done before...I sat down after I got home that night and I prayed for them. For each and every one of them by name and by situation. And in case you know me pretty well - I should assure you I didn't pray anything bad on them OR pray that they'd magically see the light and do things my way. If you're laughing now, you've probably been my friend for more than a day and you know how I am.

I prayed for the Lord to show me my side of things. Am I meeting their expectations? Have I apologized for my wrong doings, my shortcomings, and my selfishness in areas of those same relationships? I prayed for what the Lord is doing in their lives. For what they have on their plate. For what the future holds for each of them. And most of all I prayed the Lord would bless them.

I don't know if those people felt my prayers this weekend but I can assure you I woke up Sunday morning feeling really differently. Feeling positive. Feeling excited. Peaceful. Blessed. And really feeling like so much of what I carried into the weekend as sadness, bitterness, or disappointment was gone, replaced by a renewed desire to be diligent in my relationships.

Sunday morning with a sweet friend, Kayla, I baked over 200 pancakes for the middle schoolers of my church. Former 5th graders made the more up to 6th grade yesterday morning and I hope they felt welcomed by our pancakes.

Serving in big and small ways really gets me out of my funks. And I was blessed to get to share my new found love of the kitchen with others this weekend.

I lunched with Kayla and Aubs after church and had great conversation over great food (dilla explosion salad - yes please). Followed by hours at the pool with Kayla and my favorite neighbors. And I came away from that time feeling refreshed and renewed.

This Saturday of inspiration was followed by the following 2 notes of encouragements from sweet friends:

via facebook message: Just want you to know that you inspire and encourage me. love you and think you are an amazing creation of the Father!!..

What a timely little note of encouragement from a faraway friend. I AM a creation of the Father, aren't I? Guess I should be owning that a little more regularly.

Followed by an e-mail from a sweet friend and a woman I admire more than you know:

I just love you I want you to know and you inspire me:) You have more wisdom than your years and I pray that when my girls grow up they have the desire and thirst for wisdom and knowledge like you have. So give your mom a hug for me and remind her what a great job she did in raising you:)

One of my precious guy friends has been such a blessing as an encourager in my life lately as well. I was in a frenzy last week to get to work (it was Monday of course) when I got his text and all it said was 'Man you are stunning'. Now this is a guy friend who doesn't live in Florida, so I knew he hadn't seen me lately (obviously) but after I wrote back like wha? - he said he was just looking at the picture from my sister baby shower and thinking how beautiful I am, inside and out. I was overwelmed. Truly.

What the world values as beautiful, may be fleeting - but what girl doesn't need the occasional reminder from a guy friend that he thinks she's stunning? I'm thankful for his friendship for many reasons that go beyond him thinking I'm pretty, but I have to say - it was a timely message for a frenzied girl in a funk.

I have to say I'm not sure I deserve the title of inspiring anyone, especially lately, not to mention stunning. But I'm thankful. Oh so thankful for the encouragers in my life. For their answering the Lords call to speak those into my life 'at random' perfectly planned by God times when I need it the most.

To report back - this year has definitely reached a new level for me in my learning to faithfully encourage others (as I talked about in that December blog post). I'm glad the Lord showed me that I was doing a poor job of saying what I was feeling about others and has taught me to share just how fabulous I think these people are. I hope they feel encouraged by me - because I sure have felt the encouragement of others this year, and especially this week.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Set Backs.

Monday afternoon at Crossfit I was next to a girl for our cool down who was there for her first time. She just bought a month of unlimited Crossfit and she was asking me if I'd been pleased, etc. She then launched into the story of why she was here. Her story could have almost BEEN my story. She started out REALLY over weight. She lost about 100 pounds (I lost 70) and was feeling really good about it...

Then she started dating. Like myself while in a relationship, she let the pounds creep back on and after gaining more than 10 of the pounds back, she panicked. It's not that having a boyfriend in and of itself makes you fat, it's just that spending the time you use to spend pounding it out in the gym, somehow moves over to being (much more happily) spent with the guy you like and amazingly those pounds you worked so hard to get off, come back with a lot more ease.

I couldn't help noticing how discouraged this girl seemed. I felt bad for and I as I cooled down beside her trying to build her up and assure her that gaining a few pound back wasn't so bad - since she realized it early and was actively working to make the changes it'd take to balance a boyfriend AND her health goals. That's when I realized, I could have been telling myself the same thing!

We all have setbacks, it's how and WHEN we react to them and address them that really counts, right?

I may not be quite as skinny as I was in March but I'm not back to where I started either. So compared to this (my very first 'before pic)':

This doesn't seem so bad:

It's a process. And sometimes you'll have a setback. You just can't lose sight of the prize.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Club Friday & a Few Other Thoughts.

First off I had an exciting response to Wednesdays call out for snail mailers. I've already sent 5 cards out to the first few of you, and the rest will go out today and tomorrow. I am so thrilled to not only have people to mail cards too, but ones who are excited to keep the snail mail going beyond just me sending a card. I love getting mail too, obviously. Having written letter version of conversations with myself it not nearly as fun as the back and forth. So thanks for the ladies who took the challenge and sent me their addresses - I'm very much looking forward to this.

Since it's Friday and I've been diligently reading this week I have 2 books to talk about for Book Club Friday.

(side note: Heather, I love the new book club friday badge!)

I just finished (Wednesday morning) the book I last wrote about (yes, I know, I got a little slow there) which was Compact with the Devil.

It had come highly recommended by several other bloggin' book lovers and I have to say I wasn't sure it was going to be my cup of tea - but I did really enjoy it. It wasn't a 'can't put down' for me but it was cute, a fun break from murder mysteries I've been obsessed with lately and I'm glad I read it. I'm not sure I'll rush out and buy more by the same author but it was a fun 'summer chic lit read' for me.

After finishing that I moved quickly on to read A Young Wife at the recommendation of my coworker, Madison. She finished it quickly and it was 2ish weeks left before it had to be given back to the library so she tossed it my way.

Amazons says:
When fifteen-year-old Minke van Aisma travels to Amsterdam to care for the dying wife of an older, wealthy man named Sander DeVries, she has no idea what awaits her. Within hours of his wife’s death, Sander proposes marriage, and within days the couple sets sail for the burgeoning oil fields of Argentina.

But the future that seemed so bright takes a dark turn the morning their son, Zef, is kidnapped. Dire circumstances dictate that Sander immigrate to New York at once, leaving Minke little choice but to wait for their new baby’s arrival, follow Sander to America, and abandon her firstborn.

What follows is a triumphant turn-of-the-century saga of love, betrayal, and redemption that takes readers from the opulent life in Amsterdam during the 1900s to rough life on the Argentine coast to the impoverished life of a recent immigrant in New York.

An indelible portrait of one woman’s struggle to steer her own fate, A Young Wife is a powerful journey that will stay with readers long past the final page.

I'm not too far along in the book so far but it's easy reading, and it's keeping my attention. I'm curious to see how the story develops (the proposal just happened where I'm at). The adventures havent' totally begun yet (I'm 50 pages in) but I think I'll have this one done by the end of the weekend.

Happy Reading.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Ok...

Its Ok Thursdays

My favorite (blog) day of the week is back. And I just want to say this week that (according to me) it's ok... consume as much diet coke as water (hey, my blog, my rules - I don't want to hear your lip). secretly enjoy when girls stare enviously when you're on friend dates with your attractive guy friends. read while you blow dry your hair (multi-tasking at it's finest, I say). overpack to every trip (and every workday). have a purse big enough to fit a small child, or two. threaten to spank someone else's child if they don't at Target (hey, control your kid or I'll show you how it's done, I mean it). never have buyers remorse. be overly matchy in some aspects of life and completely uncoordinated in others. wear mismatched socks to the gym, daily. hate sweating in dress clothes. have days you eat 1200 calories of junk food so you can keep to your diet but eat what you want.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh you like Snail Mail Too?!

Ok, I'm about to do something bold...

See, I keep seeing on facebook, the twit, and in blog world how much my friends love getting snail mail. Well I'm a very faithful snail mailer (I sent at LEAST 5 cards a week, every week - usually more like 10). I've got probably 10ish friends that I regularly write back and forth with. But I've found recently that some of the best pen pals are my favorite blog friends like Neely and Lindsey and so you can thank these two ladies for this...

If YOU love getting snail mail and you want to get in on writing and receiving cards with me, this is your big chance. If you e-mail me your address to I commit to start the pen palness by sending you the first card (even if I get 100 addresses). If you just want one fun card from me, then my commitment ends here BUT if you want to keep the love alive and send them back, I will respond every time. I am a pretty great pen pal if I do say so myself and a firm believer in the lost art of letter writing. So, here's your chance to get in on the action (and I just ordered a bunch of new stationary so I'm extra excited about it lately). Shoot me an e-mail and we'll get this kicked off right.

Comments are still welcomed here, but I felt like your mailing addresses shouldn't be put out there for the public to see. : ]


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Daytona Weekend.

Well well well this little road triper is back in town town - at least for a few days. My sister's pregnant, as I've shared before with my first niece! I am so excited to be an auntie for the first time in November. My sisters sweet mother-in-law asked me to help host a baby shower for Rae and Chris and I gladly accepted. I was to leave to Daytona beach midday on Friday and then Saturday after the shower Rae and Chris were going to come back to Tampa with me for 2 days at my place. They had never seen 'the batch pad' so this was super exciting. I wanted to make sure that not only did I keep up my end of playing hostess for the shower but had the house fully prepped for 2 days of my the best kind of company - family.

I agreed to do some serious baby shower baking and prep 2 kinds of muffins (chocolate chip and blueberry) as well as my Momma's famous coffee cake and bring them with me 2.5 hours to Daytona Beach.

So Thursday night between work and going to the grand opening of the new Pinkberry with friends I baked like a craaazy.

Yep - that's 26 muffins ready for transport. I didn't have another hand to show you the coffee cake as well but it was by far the biggest hit, and was completely gone by the end of the shower (my sister claims she ate most of it).

Friday morning I popped out of bed early to put the finishing touches on the batch pad as well as get my packing finished up and ready to go. The plan was to leave work at noon, run home and pack the car (so my makeup and muffins didn't have to roast in the car for 4 hours of a workday) and then hit the road by 1 pm with a Sonic in hand.

Friday morning - 8am with room cleaned and bag packed.

Leaving out 30 minutes ahead of schedule with presents, baked goods, dress, and bag in hand at 12:30 Friday afternoon - Daytona or Bust time.

I drove over and got in just before dinner time on Friday night. We ran a few errands and did a few 'prep' items for the shower.

Saturday morning I got a walk on the beach that was divine. I love walking on the beach, it's one of the most relaxing places to be, don't you think? I got to do some thinking and relaxing (in my mind) while working up a good sweat. I will say the combo of easytone shoes AND sand was pretty brutal (and a good way to break an ankle if you're not careful).

The shower was a great success. Here's my with my sister (and baby niece in the belly) at the shower:

Saturday after the shower we came back to Tampa. I finally got to show Rae and Chris the condo, and we spend the weekend eating, laying out, worshiping at church and being with our sweet friends. I loved every second with both of them. I am so blessed to have the 3 most incredible siblings. It meant so much to me to share my life here in Florida with them for a few days and it was hard to say a tearful goodbye on Monday morning.

I had so much fun playing hostess from getting up early to make them breakfast before church on Sunday (including regular AND chocolate chip pancakes):

To taking them to my favorite fro yo joint, a Bayshore drive at sunset, and introducing them around (showing them off) at church.

It's hard to believe the next time I see them they'll have my baby niece with them!

What a perfect weekend.



Monday, August 15, 2011

My Style Monday - Baby Shower Addition.

My Style Monday

You'll have to forgive me for having another week of cell phone taken pictures of myself. Blah. Someday when I don't have a blackberry this will be less shameful (it takes the WORST pictures). Anywho - I'm posting my outfit from my sisters baby shower in Daytona Beach (expect another entry about this weekend later).

So here we go:

Dress: I can't remember who made it (I'd never heard of them) but it was from Ross - $14. My necklace was from TJMaxx - $9.99. And the shoes I already had and are Steve Madden wedges I found a few years ago on clearance at DSW. So it was one of my thrifiest dress up outfits. Ok fine, all my dress up outfits are super thrifty. ; ]


Sunday, August 14, 2011


I already confessed on the first week of 'It's Ok' Thursday that I bribe myself into doing things. When I worked for a Ford dealership in college I was obsessed with keeping my car perfectly clean at ALL times (even in winter sludge). Somehow after buying the 'batch pad' that obsession has moved (far) away from my car and onto keeping an immaculate house.

My car tends to collect workout clothes, work shoes (aka heels I shed as soon as I get in the car after work), tupperwares from the lunches I packed, etc. It goes weeks without a bath. Dust collects on my dashboard. You get the idea.

So as I was thinking last week about what I needed to get done I said, enough is enough - it's time to rid my car of the clutter and filth, just like everything else. So after Crossfit on Wednesday I left my car out in the driveway, grabbed my supplies, and set to work detailing the inside of my car like a 16 year old with a 'new to them' vehicle.

On lunch that day I had finally (and I do mean finally) bought replacement car mats as mine had been looking rough for quite some time. So I hit the gas station for a vacuum, came home, armor alled the inside (clean and then protect), washed the insides of the windows, purses the scratched CDs, trash, lifetime supply of sonic mints I never eat but come on my daily diet coke, and picked a few dollars worth of change off the floor, and I even got out the spot shot and spot treated any of those weird areas of the seats and floor boards that get discolored.

Finally after all that, I laid down my new floor mats and rewarded myself (see, the bribery thing is real) with one of these bad boys:

After winning an ipod touch at a hotel grand reopening recently I really wanted a way to listen to it in my car so I could stop toting around burnt, homemade CDs. (yes, I was still doing this until Thursday). I figured this would be good motivation for me to get my car clean, purged, and organized just in time for back-to-back roadtrip weekends.

So hello 2011 and adult life sans homemade mixed CDs - I think were going to get along just fiine.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Simple Life.

Don't worry, this entry is NOT about Paris (or Nicole). This entry was inspired by a chat with a friend last week about how people live. It got me thinking and being really grateful for how I was raised...

My favorite childhood memories involve: my sisters (rae and ruth), church, football (naturally) and family vacations (which involved car toppers, absolutely no head phones, lots of family 'bonding', and living out of a suitcase for 6 weeks). My family is a real hoot - I wish you all could meet them (for those of you who haven't).

I was raised simply for lack of a better term. I didn't go without any real needs being met - but we didn't live an extravagant life either. Our home was full of fun, family, laughter, friends, and most importantly, faith. What is wasn't filled with was electronics (my parents have FINALLY got a DVD player and an Apple computer), luxury cars (try a 14 year old mini van I learned to drive in), or lavish allowances.

My Dad told me several times in middle school and high school that it's important to realize that nothing is handed to you in life, you work for what you want. The God we serve is a provider - but that didn't mean we got cars for our 16th birthdays or cruises for Spring Break every year. What I love about sharing this with you is that my childhood was one of the fullest I know of. You would be hard pressed to find 3 girls who had us much fun as my sisters and I. We continue to be best friends and all maintain great relationships with our parents as well. If given a choice, my family is still who I choose to spend time with. We cherish the memories we made in those years and we're grateful for the opportunities our parents gave us to learn, grow, and achieve.

As I've reached the ripe old age of 25 I have come to the sad realization that so many in my generation have been crippled by the absense of simplicity in their lives. Everything was done for them and as a result they have never developed a healthy work ethic. I was amongst one of the first graduating classes (from college) to be part of the worst job market - ever. Three years later many of my friends are STILL trying to score their first 'professional' job or have given up and gone back to school.

In addition to having weak worth ethic and little experience I'm also from a generation of people with an 'I deserve it' attitude. Why shouldn't we have BMWs, condos in the nicest parts of town, lavish vacations, destination weddings, and wallets full of plastic? We want everything our parents worked 30 years for, without the 30 years of work. I mean, we deserve it, right? We EARNED it. Sadly, those I know living that lifestyle right now, aren't enjoying it nearly as much as they hoped and most of them will still be paying off their current lifestyle, 30 years from now.

What really hits home for me about this is that while I love to work (I got my first job at 15 and haven't quit working since) - I also appreciate that my parents taught me to value the things money can't buy. They taught me to keep my relationship with the Lord first, to live below my means, to buy only what I can pay cash for, and to be grateful for used cars without monthly payments and fun that doesn't break the bank. They put the emphasis on people and not on 'stuff' and they taught me to set goals and work for what I want.

I'm not opposed to cars, homes, clothes, or cash but I do grimace a bit when people say 'I deserve it'. As a Christian, I'm just thankful I'm NOT getting what I really deserve. I've got a lot left to learn about money, about sacrifice, and about living a simple life but I will tell you this - I have never been happier than I am right now. My life is full. I don't have every 'thing' I've ever wanted but I have what I need and I'm working towards a few of those wants while I'm at it.

I'm especially thankful today for Griwald style family vacations, my first car (a 1994 toyota camry with 146K miles on it), an education, and a family who loves the Lord.

Here's to the simple life.



Friday, August 12, 2011

Birthday Wish List.

It's one month til my birthday and you KNOW I can't stand surprises so I've already figured out everything I want this year....

1. A (petite) grill. No, not the bling'd out teeth covering kind - the kind I can pull out (of the garage) and flip some burgers on. I'm ready for some football and I'm ready to become a grill master this season. So after I turn 26 next month you'll find me in my driveway flippin burgers like a boss.

2. A new Coach planner. Mine sure has been good to me these past 8ish years I've had it but it's time for it to retire to that place great planners go when they die and for me to sport a new one. I want the 'Julia' in black (I couldn't find a black picture I could bum so this ones in silver).
3. The Colts to beat the Bucs on MNF IN TAMPA...oh and me to be there with my best friend.

That's right people - my team is coming to my city for a game on my favorite (football) night of the week. There are few things in the world I love as much as Monday Night Football - and this year it will be the deadly combo of the Colts, Tampa, my Daddy, and my bff all in one. I can't WAIT. Dreams do come true people, they do.

4. Ryan Gosling. Preferably with the body from Crazy, Stupid Love and the personality from the Notebook. Is that too much to ask?!

Those are my top four but I'm also hoping there might be an iphone, some nordstrom giftcards, stationary,and maybe a new book or two mixed in there. My dream of having a private jet remains as well...that would just be so stinkin convenient.

The big 2-6, coming soon.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's Ok...

Its Ok Thursdays

This may start being my favorite day of the week on the blog, seriously. These 'its ok's crack me up and I've been obsessively reading all the ones who link up (you should too).

So today I'm just letting you all know that (according to me) it's ok... live 15 minutes from the beach and still prefer the pool (no thanks sand) prefer texting to talking on the phone. put your hands on your hips in every photo so you don't have 'fat arm'. ask whoever you're with to check your teeth after every meal. belt out your favorite songs in the car so loud that homeless people stare at stoplights. only dance at weddings to dances you know: the electric slide, the cha cha slide, or my favorite: the cupid shuffle. own over 50 dresses and still want to buy a new one every week.

(note: hand on hip in every pic - as promised) blog even though your parents keep telling you it's weird. obsess about your family being together at the holidays even when it is/seems impossible. go over your gas budget to be at your sisters baby shower (eeee!). fall in love more than once in your life.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hitting Close to Home.

It's always a little overwelming when crimes 'hit close to home'. The recent disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer (story here) really tugs at my heart. Several of my close friends went to IU during the time I was attending Purdue University. I actually spend several weekends on that exact campus with said friends. These situations are always tragic, but something about kids (even college aged 'kids') just really gets me. I guess it's when you think 'that could have been...'.

I was talking to my Mom about the Spierer story on the phone the other day and it got me thinking about the Purdue student who went missing for 2 months while I was at Purdue. The Wade Steffey story was also heart wrenching for me. He was a freshman during the Spring semester of my junior year at Purdue who went missing in January and was found, dead, in late March within the electric room of a dorm on campus where he had been apparently been electrocuted.

The whole campus spent weeks looking for Steffey - combing the campus to no avail. I remember helping spread the word via facebook, noting fliers on every building on campus, and my classmates and I all talking about what could possibly have happened to him. I didn't know him personally, but I was the familiar with the dorm he lived in (where some of my friends had previously lived) and the fraternity he'd been at the night he 'went missing'. I can only imagine from the rumors that went around campus about his disappearance all the horrible things that must have gone through his parents, family, and friends minds in those tortuously long 2 months.

Obviously the Spierer story is quite different in that they're confident there was an altercation of sorts and her disappearance was likely at the hands of other people. All the involved 'men' have lawyered up but are said to be cooperating with the authorities still. My heart goes out to her family and friends and I'm praying they find her soon. I can't imagine what that must be like. Having a college aged sister myself, I can't even go there. Please remember Lauren's family in your prayers and all those trying to locate their missing loved ones.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Football Football Football.

I'm linking up with Lindsey today to show my team colors. I believe in blue - the theme of our Indianapolis Colts. I'm stoked for football season to begin this week (even though preseason is such a tease). So here's a few pictures of me supportin my boys... (and with some of my favorite boys/colts fans).

Case, me, and Sean at a game.

Casey, me, and Jeff after the win that took us to the Super Bowl (the one we beat the Bears in)

Casey, me, and Jeff tailgating before the Eagles game.

Me and my fav little Colts fan who sits next to me (or on my lap, depending) - Nathan.

Sean and I @ a game last year.

Let's go Colts!



I forgot to update you guys yesterday that I've lost 6.4 lbs as of the week 3 weigh in for the competition I'm doing. No matter how well you do it always seems like you still wish you could lose more, faster, right? But I've settled into a good groove with counting calories and my Crossfit classes as well as my Shapes classes are giving me a good mix of workouts every week. Since Crossfit I've given up two-a-days for a while. Getting my butt kicked once per day is enough right now.

I'm leaving this weekend to head to Daytona Beach for my older sister, Rae's baby shower. I can't wait to see her (and her baby bump), my brother-in-law (Chris) and her family-in-law whom I love! After I visit them in Daytona my sis and bro-in-law will be coming back to Tampa for the remainder of of the weekend. I can't wait to finally show them the condo! I've been a homeowner for almost two years now but my sisters last trip to Tampa was before I had closed.

What is it about having your family on your own turf that is just so exciting? Showing her my place for the first time, cooking for her (a new skill I've learned since the last time I saw her), taking her to my pool (where I spend pretty much every Saturday/Sunday afternoon). I am literally giddy with excitement.

So in prep for a wonderful weekend this week will be full of cleaning, laundry, errands, etc. I've already bought my future niece her first presents, which I admit took me 2ish hours of browsing literally every baby product known to man. I will be doing some baking for the shower Thursday night as well. Plus packing (which takes me forever) and probably trying on all 70 or so of my dresses to decide what to wear (this is my first baby shower for a sister, it's important). Prep for these things is half the fun, right?

I think I'll treat myself to some new music before the trek - I still have the CD I made the first time I went to Daytona, for my bro-in-law's brother, Will's graduation party. Which I'm pretty sure I busted back out when I went over there for Thanksgiving the first year my sister was married. I actually love a good roadtrip and I now have 2 in a row these coming weekends. So exciting. I enjoy the time to sing, think, and call a few people I'm frequently indebted too in the phone call department.

Ok this post has been a bit of a ramble. I'll return you to your regularly scheduled excitement.



Monday, August 8, 2011

My Style Monday - Wedding Edition.

My Style Monday

Well, I told myself I'd have more than one outfit to share for this weeks 'My Style Monday' but alas, failure. So, I'm just sharing my outfit from the wedding I went to on Saturday night on St. Pete Beach.

Me @ the condo before leaving for the wedding.

Me with the bride and groom: Jen & Larry.

Dress: Jessica Simpson ( I got it on clearance @ Marshalls)

Shoes: Gap outlet wedges (I felt like heels on the beach might get dangerous)